Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Tour: Seeker

Rita Pomade's
Seeker: A Sea Odyssey

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is the story of two people who meet in Mexico and fall in love. Rita is an American part-time English language teacher and freelance reporter for an English language tourist magazine struggling to raise two young boys on her own. Bernard is a French geologist under contract to the Mexican government to search for underground thermal springs. She dreams of finding Shangri-La after witnessing a bloody government crackdown from which she barely escapes. He dreams of having a yacht and sailing the world. Their dreams mesh, and they immigrate to Canada to earn the money to build their boat.

Print Length: 330 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: MiroLand

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Books-a-Million. You can also add this to your Goodreads reading list.

Guest Post: Cooking on a Shoestring at Sea

When my mate and I set sail from Taiwan on our newly minted yacht, we had a lot of enthusiasm for the adventure but not the resources to match. Whatever remained of the money we had saved for the yacht’s construction went towards a World War II outboard engine, and a life raft salvaged from a defunct cruise ship. A fridge was out of the question. Provisioning fell to me to do the best with the little we had.

Fortunately, in the Far East rice is ubiquitous, cheap and versatile. It served as the foundation for many of my dishes, and meant I could manage with a wok, saucepan, and kettle. If I couldn’t make it in a wok, it didn’t get made. The saucepan was for boiling rice, and the kettle for boiling water— instant coffee our only indulgence as coffee was expensive in the East.  

I looked for staples without expiration dates, and settled on flour, rice, baking powder, sugar, powdered milk, peanut and sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper. And I picked up carrots, onions, garlic, cabbage and ginger— inexpensive and abundant in open markets, and with long shelf lives. I stored the veggies in a net hammock out of the sun.  Still, on long periods at sea, they did go soft and wilt, but it took awhile, and when cooked, who noticed? 
I bought eggs and greased them with Vaseline, having been told it was an old sailing trick to keep them from spoiling. A more seasoned sailor than me suggested I turn the eggs over once a week, and scrap the ones that floated. I followed his advice though I can’t say for sure if it prolonged the life of the eggs. In a book on provisioning, I read bay leaves repelled weevils in flour, but my weevils were oblivious to the fact. I hid them in pancake batter, and chalked it up to a little extra protein. 

Meals consisted of cooked rice tossed into a mix of the sautéed long-life veggies. When we were in port, I bought fresh greens from local markets to add to the dish. The tasty last touch was always a splash of soy sauce and a dash of toasted sesame oil. For protein, I scrambled eggs that I sliced thin and stirred in at the end of cooking. When available, I bought tofu or nuts to change the dish. I stored a variety of canned duck, chicken, and other protein, the names of which I couldn’t read from the Chinese labels. I always bought at markets where the locals bought. The point here being, that it pays to be adventurous and eat what the locals eat.  As we moved towards the West, I exchanged canned duck feet for beans and tuna fish. With rice as the base, combined with veggies, and a protein, our meals were balanced and nutritious. To this day, fried rice with whatever vegetables I have available is my favorite dish.

About the Author: Rita Pomade, an intrepid nomad originally from New York, now lives and writes in Montreal. Her work has appeared in literary magazines and poetry reviews, and her monologue for auditioning actors was selected for inclusion in the Monologue Bank. An excerpt from her forthcoming memoir Seeker: A Sea Odyssey was included in two travel anthologies.  

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